Yesterday, I looked at the best of Conchita Wurst’s live performances in 2015, numbers 10 through six. The performances out of all the ones she’s given this year I thought were beautiful. Today, I’m looking at the top five. The ones that are either superb examples of what this amazing woman can do on stage, or are performances she should be incredibly proud of. Well, both really.
Conchita’s live debut of ‘You Are Unstoppable‘ at Germany’s Unser Song für Österreich early in the year, was pure joy to watch. In every conceivable way.
Because, first, it was a Eurovision event, which means she’s always surrounded by an audience who adores her. An audience that, I think, allows her to be at her absolute most free on stage, as she never has to worry about the reaction of the crowd to a girl with a beard. And, here, it definitely shows, as this performance is not just one of her best of 2015, it’s one of her best ever.
From the way she sings the first line of the song so strongly, to how she hits every note perfectly, including that huge high one close to the end, this debut performance is perfection. (And just look at that sparkle in her eyes, because she knows how much she is loved).
But what I loved about Conchita’s ‘You Are Unstoppable‘ at Unser Song für Österreich the most was how it illustrated how magnetic she is on stage. Because there was nothing glitzy or brash about her simple floor-length white gown (well, sure, it made her look like an angel, but it was still a simple dress), and during the whole performance in that enormous venue she barely moved, and yet the power just radiated off her.
4. ‘Rise Like a Phoenix’ — Pop Meets Opera — AND — ‘You Are Unstoppable/Firestorm’ — Eurovision Song Contest 2015 — Vienna, Austria
And this is my slightly cheaty best of Conchita Wurst live 2015 choice for number four. As I’m including two performances as one. Conchita singing ‘Rise Like a Phoenix‘ a few days before Eurovision at the Eurovision sponsored Pop Meets Opera concert, and her performance of ‘You Are Unstoppable/Firestorm‘ at the Eurovision Song Contest 2015 itself.
Because her performance of ‘Rise‘ at Pop Meets Opera was so incredibly elegant and gorgeous — in the majestic Vienna State Opera House, in front of such an appreciative crowd, with a fabulous chamber orchestra, and slowed down in such a way that it seemed more sad than anthem-like. (And, Conchita, please find ways to sing with more chamber orchestras, as you are just stunning here).
And because she nailed that Eurovision Song Contest performance — a medley of sorts of two songs from her debut album ‘Conchita‘ — a performance for about 200 million people across Europe.
And because, let’s face it, if it wasn’t for Conchita Wurst and the way she worked her ass off to not only get to Eurovision 2014 but to win it, the competition would never have been held in Vienna at all. For that alone, this performance has to be on any list of the best of 2015.
I love this performance so much, I had it downloaded as an MP3 and playing on my phone just hours after it happened. A couple of weeks later, and it still plays in my headphones everywhere I go in Bangkok because, to me, it is one of the coolest things Conchita Wurst has done.
And what is fabulous about this is not just her gorgeous performance of ‘Diamonds are Forever‘, or that she’s singing it with Bassey. For me it’s more that it’s a tiny little peek into Tom Neuwirth’s childhood. To a time when he used to hide himself away in the attic of his parent’s guesthouse, sing along to Shirley Bassey, and imagine a world where he wasn’t bullied because he was ‘different’, or ‘strange’ or ‘gay’, but one where he was adored.
And to see her now in an ORF studio, helping them celebrate their 60th year anniversary as one of the biggest international stars Austria has ever had, and being able to sing with Bassey to an audience of a few million people instead of an audience of none, this makes me happier than anything.
Plus, the way she sings “For what good would love do me”, I could play that line over and over again, because it just hits my soul.
Conchita’s performance at Cologne Pride 2015 was spectacular in more ways than one. Not only for the way she sang both ‘Heroes‘ and ‘You Are Unstoppable‘, completely owning both songs.
But also because she did it on an outdoor stage in 38 degree heat in the shade (well over 40 freaking degrees where she was standing), wearing the tightest latex outfit, with her entire body streaming with sweat and lube, and still managing to look not remotely fetish but instead more elegant than anyone within a hundred mile radius. And, this being Conchita, of course, enjoying every possible second of it.
Which also said to me that, for all her elegance and grace, when it comes to kink, that girl is happy to take more than her fair share of it, and I find that to be fabulous.
As for Conchita Wurst’s best live performance of 2015? For me, there was no other possible choice than the one she gave in Kielce, Poland at Sabat Czarownic (Witches Sabbath).
Because this is the one where not only were the usual bigots out in force, threating to boycott the show because Conchita had been asked to perform, but it was also the one where the show’s organizers actually stopped people bringing metal objects and bottles to the concert, as they were so afraid they might be thrown at her.
And so she arrived on that stage, knowing all this. A tiny, delicate figure out there all by herself, with no idea what might happen. But, just like she always does, she strutted onto that stage, looked the camera dead in its eye and started to sing.
And, as she always does, she ‘caught’ almost everyone in that audience who ever had the slightest doubt that she shouldn’t be there. So that, by the end of ‘Rise‘, which she slayed by the way, she was being given a tumultuous welcome by the crowd.
And that emotion catapulted her right into her cover of Tina Turner’s ‘River Deep, Mountain High‘, where she seriously gave the best performance she’s ever given of any song. Anywhere. Ever.
Now, of course, these best of Conchita Wurst live performances of 2015 are nothing more than the ones I love the most, because every ‘best of’ list ever, anywhere, by anyone is nothing more than opinion — really.
For me, though, this was a difficult list to compile. Simply because, even on her worst day up on stage, Conchita is still better than most other artists out there. And on her best? Stunning, spectacular, stupendous — pick a superlative, as they all apply to her.
And as for what 2016 will bring when it comes to Conchita and the performances we will see? Well, I will guarantee you one thing. If you think she was incredible in 2015, you ain’t seen nothing yet.